…and an everyday occurrence in our digitally dominated world. And its not just changing social norms but how we interact in a variety of business settings, including the hiring process.  

While technology is enabling the world to be quick and efficient, its also creating a world where people can weave in and out of interactions with others “at will” by simply “not showing”, “not responding”, “not explaining why” – just being no longer engaged.

We now have a clever name for this phenom…its called ghosting. No need to prepare or listen to lengthy explanations of disengagement (in the dating world called the “its not about you” speech) the act of “ghosting” tells us all we need to know – I’m just not that into you.

While ghosting in the social world is not without its stigmas, ghosting in a business setting – commonplace  in the world of recruiting and hiring – can be extremely disruptive.   Hiring processes get stalled when candidates ghost their recruiters by not showing up for interviews;  staffing plans have to be re-done when new hires do not show up for their first day on the job or the pre hire onboarding;   supervisors are left unable to get key work done when employees quit by simply not showing up for work.

Is there ever a rationale for ghosting?

Candidates often take their ghosting behavior lightly.      With unemployment in the 1-2% range in our local market, and job openings nationwide stading at well over 7 million, candidates are getting pickier and pickier about where and how they work, what jobs they will even consider.   This “pickiness” gets acted out in a variety of ways that fall into the ghosting category – not returning calls, texts, or e mails;  blowing off interviews;  starting then quitting jobs if something better comes along.   For most  candidates, ghosting is simply a way for them to disengage without consequences.

If you’re the one being ghosted, you’re likely not to take the ghosting behavior so lightly.  If you’ve been wooing a candidate to hire and they don’t show up for the last and final interview, you’re not only faced with the reality that you have to start over, but you’re scratching your head to figure out why.

And if you’re one of those people who needs to know those whys, good luck with your efforts to reach out.  When a candidate disengages by ghosting, they almost never will answer their phones or return your calls, unless they really didn’t mean to ghost you – they just misunderstood the time/place of an appointment, or the request that they call back.

 So how do you deal with all this ghosting behavior?

We thought we’d share a few ideas from our own recruiters on how they deal with ghosting .  There might be an idea in this list that will resonate with you.

#1 – Address the ghosting thing head on.

Our recruiters shared that letting candidates know right up front that its “not okay to ghost us or our clients” actually has impact.  Rather than spending  time hoping that you’ll  get the courtesy and respect you deserve, our recruiters recommend you spend time making sure your expectations are clear.  “There are just a few things that I ask of you if you want me to represent you in the marketplace and the most important is direct communication – no ghosting.  If you find yourself not able to keep a commitment, I expect you to communicate with me as soon as you know there is an issue or even a possible issue.  Can you do that?”    

#2  – Make it easy for a candidate to say “no”.

“The job I am trying to fill may or may not end up being the right fit for you, and I don’t want you to feel any pressure from me on your decision to pursue this opportunity or not.  Once you start the process, I want you to be committed to completing it, even if you find you need to say “no” at the end.”

If you’re trying to fill a job, you don’t want to waste time with candidates who aren’t that interested.  When you get the sense that a candidate isn’t fully interested in your job opportunity, make it easy for them to tell you “no”.

#3.  Be mentally prepared for any candidate to “change their mind” at any time.

Things change in a job candidate’s life.  Particularly if your hiring process takes more than 1 or 2 weeks, be prepared for a good candidate to get other opportunities or job offers during that time period.

Ask them up front to keep you informed.

“I realize you may come up with other opportunities as we work thru our hiring process.  If you find yourself more interested in another opportunity or if you accept another job offer, please let me know.”

And never stop recruiting for additional candidates until the candidate has accepted your offer and starts work.

#4.  Keep your highly rated candidates engaged. Touch base often.

When our recruiters are working with a candidate that we know our client is interested in hiring but isn’t quite yet ready to make the offer,  we communicate with them regularly.  Status updates, adjusted timelines, newly uncovered developments and concerns are discussed openly.  Keeping uncertainty, the most frustrating part of the employment process for all job candidates, to a minimum is a big part of a “positive candidate experience.”

Even after the candidate has been selected and is getting ready to start work, you’ll need to find ways to keep them engaged prior to beginning work.  Staging the pre hire communication process – sending them packets of information about your company, your products or services, or anything that they need to know about their new role – will build that personal connection that makes it difficult for an employee or a candidate to become a ghost.

#5.  Pay attention to subtle clues.

If you sense that a candidate isn’t excited about the job you are hiring for, or is dragging their feet about committing to a start date, address your concerns directly.  “Are you concerned about something we haven’t talked about?”

Trust your intuition to let you know when something is off.  It never hurts to ask.

Yes, we know a lot about ghosting  and have found ways to contain this unfortunate side product of our digital world that we have built into our recruiting and hiring processes. As one of the Puget Sound’s premier staffing /recruiting agencies for over 40 years, we’ve seen the frequency of ghosting increase as the personal connections between employees and employers decreases.   We hope we’ve given you some ideas about how to counter this trend…but it all comes down to how we connect with candidate’s on a personal level.

Being that human connection between candidates and employers, making sure the candidate’s recruiting experience is a positive one, is something we know makes a big difference in our client’s hiring success.  Our recruiting team takes pride in being able to deliver fully engaged candidates for clients to hire direct, for temporary time limited work assignments, or for temp to hire auditions.

To learn more about how PACE services can make a difference to how you do staffing, contact us at 425-637-3312 or e mail our Partner Solutions  team  at infodesk@pacestaffing.com.


PACE Staffing Network is one of the Puget Sound’s premier staffing /recruiting agencies and has been helping  Northwest employers find and hire the right employees for over 40 years.

A  3 time winner of the coveted “Best in Staffing” designation , PACE is ranked in the top 2% of staffing agencies nationwide based on annual surveys of customer satisfaction.

PACE services include temporary and contract staffing, temp to hire auditions, direct hire placement services, and Employer of Record (payroll) services.

To learn more about how partnering with PACE will make a difference to how you find and hire employees,  contact us at 425-637-3312 or e mail our Partner Solutions  team  at infodesk@pacestaffing.com. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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